Ponte Vedra Beach is well known for being home to the PGA Tour, one of golf’s greatest courses in TPC Sawgrass and some of the sport’s most prominent players in Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh and Fred Funk, to name just a few.
However, what people might not know is that it’s also home to one of golf’s greatest secrets and sources of knowledge in a former golf industry executive named David Hueber, who has recently published a book about the sport that he said is unlike any other.
Formerly the vice president of marketing at the PGA Tour, president and CEO of the National Golf Foundation, the Ben Hogan Company and Ben Hogan Properties, which owned Pebble Beach, Hueber is also now the author of “In the Rough: The Business Game of Golf,” which has been on sale since Oct. 1.
“I describe it as a ‘Forest Gump’-like experience through the golf industry,” said Hueber, who lives in Water Oak in the Sawgrass Players Club community. “My book is about the business of the game based on my experience and the people I worked with.”
Hueber takes his readers on an adventure through his behind-the-scenes, business career in the golf industry and shares life lessons he both personally experienced and observed from the experiences of others in the sport. He stresses that the book is more about the people he encountered than himself.
“It’s about the greats of the game and golf business…what they were like ‘off the course and in the boardroom,’” he said.
These greats include Ben Hogan, one of golf’s best all-time players and a highly successful golf-equipment executive and businessman; Deane Beman, who was a star amateur, successful professional golfer and commissioner of the PGA Tour for 20 years; and Minoru Isutani, a wealthy Japanese entrepreneur, who is probably best known for having lost $350 million on the purchase and sale of Pebble Beach. Other characters featured in the book include Jack Nicklaus, Ping Golf Company Founder Karsten Solheim, Greg Norman and Ely Callaway Jr.
“It makes it an easier read when you connect the dots to people and personalities,” said Hueber.
“In the Rough” also touches on Hueber’s knowledge regarding trends in the golf industry, specifically related to why the sport has seen a recent decline in participation.
“We created a monster,” said Hueber, who noted that the golf industry has averaged 160 course closures a year since 2006. “We built too many golf courses, often times in the wrong places. The model is broken.”
Jerry Tarde, chairman and editor-in-chief of Golf Digest, speaks highly of the book.
“You’ve probably never heard of David Hueber, but he’s one of the most influential people in golf over the past 25 years,” said Tarde in his review of the book. “Over the course of the book, you’ll get a glimpse inside the PGA Tour during its ‘Wonder Years,’ as well as what it was like to work alongside Ben Hogan or play Pebble Beach anytime you wanted.”
Signed copies of the book are available at www.InTheRough.golf for $24.95. The book is also on Amazon for $28.43.
Hueber, who also holds the patents for the invention of hybrid woods, is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, whogrew up in the golf business. His father was a club pro, and he started out as a caddie, mowed greens and played well enough as a teenager to earn a golf scholarship to Florida State University. This led to a business career in marketing at the PGA Tour under Commissioner Deane Beman. He was vice president of marketing until he moved to the National Golf Foundation as its president and CEO. He then became president and CEO of the Ben Hogan Company when it was owned by Cosmo World, a Japanese company. He also served as president of Ben Hogan Property Companies, which owned Pebble Beach.
Now with a doctorate from Clemson University, where his dissertation research focused on sustainable golf course development, Heuber is currently a consultant and strategic planner for golf companies and real estate developers, working to make the golf industry "less myopic."
Hueber has lived in Ponte Vedra Beach with his wife Cindy for more than 25 years.